Feb. 10, 2012
By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
NORMAN, Okla. -- Here are five things to watch for Saturday when Lon Kruger's Oklahoma men's basketball team plays at Texas Tech at 7 p.m. CT. OU comes in 13-10 overall and 3-8 in the Big 12. Texas Tech is 7-16 and 0-11.
1. The continued improvement of Sam Grooms
Junior point guard Sam Grooms has been impressive of late. He ranks second in the conference in assists with 5.9 per game and is first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.1, but it's his scoring that has added an element to his game. Grooms went for a career-best 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting in Monday's narrow loss to fourth-ranked Missouri while adding a career-high-tying 10 assists. If Grooms can build on his point production, he'll take pressure off scorer Steven Pledger.
|Oklahoma at Texas Tech | Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
Full Game Preview | OU Ticket Information | Live Coverage | Gameday Central
2. Will Cameron Clark break out of his offensive slump?
The sophomore guard has been quiet lately, but he isn't that far removed from being an explosive scorer. While Clark has scored just eight points in the last three games, he was a 47-percent shooter last season with an abundance of confidence. Clark is averaging 7.7 points per game this year and he's most dangerous when he goes to the basket. If Clark can do that, he'll get back to the form that made him one of the top freshmen in the conference last season.
3. Free throw shooting
OU went into Monday's game vs. Missouri as a 75-percent free throw shooting team, but went just 9-for-23 against the Tigers. OU missed its first eight tries and lost the game 71-68. The Sooners beat Texas Tech 64-55 on Jan. 17, but OU certainly will have to do better from the line if it's going to be able to win on the road in conference play.
4. Taking the pressure off of Pledger
Guard Steven Pledger is averaging nearly 18 points per game, but he is going to have a harder and harder time getting good looks if other Sooners don't start making some 3-pointers. Pledger leads the conference with 2.8 3-pointers per game and is shooting 45.6 percent from behind the arc. He has made 31 3-pointers in Big 12 games. No one else on the team has more than six. If fellow guards Sam Grooms, Cameron Clark and Carl Blair get open, they'll need to make a few shots to shift the defensive attention from Pledger.
5. Staying focused against Tech
Texas Tech is winless in the conference and you have to figure the Red Raiders see this game as a good opportunity to break that streak. OU is 1-4 on the road this season, but that one win came at Kansas State, showing that the Sooners have the ability to beat good teams away from home. OU has already beaten Texas Tech once this season, so count on the fact it will head to Lubbock with a good amount of confidence.